This is my second attempt at making an Albums of the Year least after my first try in 2014. There aren’t any real surprises here as most of these albums are appearing on every other list, so I will have to seek out younger and more experimental musicians. Nevertheless, here are my thoughts on five great albums from 2016.
Listed alphabetically by title, with links to my original reviews where possible.
David Bowie, Blackstar
Bowie’s final album, released days before his death, shows that he was an experimenter to the very last, incorporating jazz and electronic songs into richly textured songs about mortality.
Confession: I never listened to anything by Beyoncé before this year. But this album blew me away with it’s mix of genres and the blend of personal travails with the political aspirations of black women. It seems appropriate that it comes 25 years after Nirvana’s Nevermind and The Beatle’s Revolver because each album created a new sound for its generation.
A Tribe Called Red, We Are the Halluci Nation
As the Water Protectors made their stand against DAPL this year, it is appropriate that the Ottawa-based DJs of A Tribe Called Red released their most angry, political album yet.
The Avalanches, Wild Flowers
It wasn’t worth waiting 16 years, but it’s still a wild mix of sounds that feels like a back alley journey through American music.
Leonard Cohen, You Want it Darker
Another farewell album recorded by an artist in his dying days that shows that the power of creativity can persist into old age.
For an entirely different list of albums I’ve never heard before (but really want to now), check out this list on the Speed of Things by my friend Erik.
What are your favorite albums of the year?